Friday, November 16, 2012

The Church and homosexuality.

Tackling the problem of teaching convincingly what the Church offers about homosexuality...

Yesterday I read Fr. Z's post with that title about Fr. Hollowell's new endeavor, to produce a documentary on what the Catholic Church teaches as regards homosexuality.  Fr. H seeks to do this work in the spirit of  the new evangelization as a means to reach young people, who have been more or less 'indoctrinated' that gay is good, Church teaching bad.  My words, not his - but that is pretty much the point.  I like Fr. H's idea and wish him well - click here to find out more about the project and to donate - he needs a lot of money to accomplish the work.

We all write and say things - sometimes crudely - when we are stressed or sometimes just tired of being nice after some very trying engagement in the culture war.  We post, and then we go back and edit or remove the post entirely.  I just did that today.  I think Fr. Z did so as well.  Unless I imagined otherwise, or mixed it up with another post, his post on Fr. Hollowell is missing a few comments and text.  Too bad, because I wanted to write about them.  I thought about what was said, and I wanted to comment in a post of my own.
Update:  Doh!  I did get the post mixed up with another one!  Oh well.  That other one here.

My first thought in response to a couple of statements about same sex marriage was: "Since the Church is against it, maybe there would be a bit more credibility to that prohibition if they enforced the rule against ordaining homosexuals to the priesthood?"  But the statement I was responding to is gone.

I had other remarks for a couple of the people who made comments on Fr. Z's post - but it appears their comments were removed - and I can't respond accurately to what is not there.  However, one guy pointed out that the arts have traditionally been a 'haven' for homosexuals.  I'm sure he won't let his son take an art class but will have him play sports instead - no homos there.  Oddly enough, priesthood and religious life has been somewhat of a haven as well - which brings me back to the first point.  Church teaching might be made more acceptable if they practiced what they preach.

That said, a former Dominican priest, who reads Fr. Z and is quite the conservative critic of all things liberal had this to say in response to Fr. Z's post:
One of the traditional RC blogs I check has a posting on "tackling-the-problem-of-teaching-convincingly-what-the-church-offers-about-homosexuality."

Well, the problem is that the church has nothing to offer.

As I have said I understand the inner logic of Catholic sexual morality and do not fault it for being true to itself. I do get the whole male/female marriage thing. To say "OK, cool" to homosexuality would unravel the whole thread of a bi-millennial organism. So it can't say that. For reasons similar to why it cannot say the same even about masturbation or contraception or shacking up outside marriage. At the end of that series of OK cools lies dissolution into liberal Protestantism. Which offers you nothing you can't get elsewhere.

But in terms of "having something to offer" besides "Don't Do It"? Nada.

Or worse, the thrill of sitting around in some Courage meeting acting as if your deepest desire for human connection is an addiction to a really bad drug.

My advice to Catholic homos is that you either have to ignore this and say to yourself that it does not really apply to you because the Church cannot really see you as the existing being you are, or get out. - USMale
The man is right.  The Church has nothing to offer - except salvation.  I'm wondering if he meant to say, 'the Church has nothing new to offer' - because it does come down to don't do it.  More than that, it is perennial teaching based on Scripture and tradition, and that horrid natural law. 

Fr. Hollowell says in his video that he had to search and search for what the Church really teaches.  Most of what the Church teaches and has taught is already online, so I'm not sure why it was so hard to find.  In his proposed documentary he plans to interview Church leaders and spokespersons on the issue - presumably Catholics who are SSA.  Will it be the usual line up?  I don't know.  But there can't be anything new.  Church teaching cannot change. 

The former Dominican priest also knows that.  He suggests:  "My advice to Catholic homos is that you either have to ignore this and say to yourself that it does not really apply to you because the Church cannot really see you as the existing being you are, or get out."  That works if you see religion or being a Christian as belonging to the right country club - but the Catholic Church is not that.  Despite the divisions and classifications and groups within Catholicism- religious orders, groups, organizations, trad and progressive, and so on - the Church isn't a corporation or conglomerate - it is the Ark - it is the Ark of salvation.  Sure there are mean spirited people in the Church who hate you, but they are everywhere in the world - hole up in a ghetto such as the Castro and live your life as you see fit if that brings you any peace.

So yes - if you want your cake and to eat it too - if you don't believe the Creed - become an Anglican or an Old Catholic - join the country club.  If you want acceptance and affirmation and approval from men - religious men or non religious men - join a fellowship church.  But if you really want Christ, the salvation of your soul, remain a faithful Roman Catholic.

The former Dominican priest knows that the Church cannot and will not change - it is why he left. 
I long ago concluded that the RC Church was not going to have female priests, married priests, or say it was OK to be gay or be on the pill. I adjusted my life accordingly. Nothing in the intervening years –evanescent blips notwithstanding—has made me change my mind. These things seem as unlikely to me as corporate reunion with the more-than-ever-fragmented Anglican “Communion”. Which has become a kind of cautionary tale of what can happen when you do embrace the above items.

The populist egalitarian obsessions of the post-Marxist liberal West will not, IMHO, be welcomed into the bi-millennial Catholic/Orthodox Churches. For that you have to go to cobwebbed and dotty Canterbury or the other restless and groovy progeny of the Reformation. So I am both fascinated and incredulous to observe people who keep hoping that the Camelot interpretation of Vatican II is waiting just around the corner. Or for the next pope. Etc. Hence, my kinship with King Herod.   - USMale
What I like about him is that he is honest - and really smart.

A couple of conclusions:

  • Living a chaste life doesn't kill you.
  • You're damned if you do and damned if you don't - in the eyes of religious people - but not in the eyes of God.
  • Go to confession and be faithful to prayer and the sacraments, seek the approval of God, not men.
  • Teach the truth to kids - the reason they don't believe is because they've been indoctrinated not to.  It will take more than a documentary to convince them.
  • To the bishops - you can't change anything if you don't change yourselves.  Be consistent in your teaching.
  • To gay Catholics.  Be faithful to Church teaching, live chastely.  Pray very much.  Stay away from involvement in Church groups, councils, committees, and so on - if you want to avoid the busybodies and bigots that is.  Be faithful and do good works, remaining hidden - like a Carmelite - not out of fear, but out of love for God.  Remember Lot's wife - in all the tumult and drama, she looked back - her passions stirred - and she turned to stone
  • If people ask you for advice, tell them to repent.



  1. There is certainly no happiness in the gay lifestyle. I remember years ago seeing The Boys in the Band about a birthday party for a Catholic homosexual. It was just sad. But strangely it was sad in the same way that Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf was sad. So many people in sexual sin eat each other alive. Sexual sin whatever its flavor is pretty pathetically boring in the end. Which is why all those folks are looking for new thrills in pornography. But their hearts will remain restless until they rest in the Lord. He is the only answer. And His love is ultimately the only one that can fill us to the brim.

    1. We saw the same plays - they were of the same genre weren't they.

      You are right about the restless heart.


    2. Great insights Mary Ann. The problem with SSA is that works like a spell. As long as one is under the influence of that "spell" nothing you stated in your comments will make any sense whatsoever. As long as they perceive their happiness is "out there" the longing, the hunger they feel will not be satisfied. I always likened it to being in a cave that is somewhat lit up interiorly except those living in that lifestyle get further and further away from the entrance and the "light" becomes more and more dim until it's pitch black and unless a miracle of grace takes place it's unlikely they will get out of that cave.

  2. "Living a chaste life doesn't kill you."
    "Stay away from involvement in Church groups, councils, committees, and so on"

    May I offer a hardy Amen?

  3. Pillar of salt...she turned into a pillar of salt.

    Sorry to be a nitpicker, but picking nits is what I do best!

    Great post - you are a good man.

    1. Yeah but the Four Tops song is titled Turn to Stone. What?

  4. Dear Terry, thanks for the post. Forgive the long comment; feel free to reject it if it's out of line in any way.

    I suffer from social anxiety. That's one of the disorders of my psyche. Big gatherings, especially in public, are hard for me. But the other day I found the courage to accept an invitation to a priests' gathering at a restaurant. Well, wasn't I relieved when there sat next to me a drunk, flaming, rude and outrageous priest. His behavior was so over-the-top that I could no longer feel nervous for myself, and I was put at ease.

    But later on I was thinking about it...what's that guy like in his regular life? Is he just as flaming but sober? Or is he up tight and 'conservative'? Or is he some style of hybrid, 'lace in the morning, leather at night' as they say.

    Also, how is that after fourteen years in religious life and five in the priesthood, I--a socially anxious and shy person--am totally familiar and willing to endure this boring, scripted business of campy priest party?

    As you say, until those of us whom the Church has made the custodians of the deposit of faith--and the ministers of the sacraments by which Christ saves us--get a little more honest about ourselves and willing to critique our own culture, our credibility in bearing the good news of the magisterial teaching on these questions will suffer.

    1. Dear Father - thanks very much for the long comment.

      All my prayers and thanks!



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